Appeasment? Obama defends foreign policy record

Dec 9, 2011, 10:44 by R.E. Christian

U.S. President Obama responded to critics of his foreign policy, particularly concerning Iran and the Middle East, with some advice: Check his record.

During an impromptu news conference Thursday, Obama said his administration has been tough on Iran and worked hard to rally the international community to act in concert against the Islamic republic over its nuclear activities.

"When we came into office, the world was divided; Iran was unified and moving aggressively on its own agenda," Obama said. "Today, Iran is isolated, and the world is unified in applying the toughest sanctions that Iran has ever experienced."

He also reminded reporters that, despite "some of the political noise out there," his administration has "systematically imposed the toughest sanctions on Iran ever."

Iranian officials know they face two choices, he said. They can emerge from isolation by "acting responsibly and forswearing the development of nuclear weapons" or they can continue to operate in a manner that keeps them separated from the rest of the global community, the president said.

"And if they are pursuing nuclear weapons, then I have said very clearly, that is contrary to the national security interests of the United States, it's contrary to the national security interests of our allies, including Israel," Obama said. "And we are going to work with the world community to prevent that."

Asked about Republican presidential candidates who have called his approach to the Middle East appeasement, the president said they may want to remember U.S. forces took out al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden on Obama's watch.

"Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22-out-of-30 top al-Qaida leaders who've been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement. Or whoever is left out there, ask them about that."

Source: UPI